Arlington, VA

(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) A large tree has fallen and is completely blocking the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

Police and firefighters are on the scene. The tree reportedly also brought down power lines at the intersection, which is just down the street from Yorktown High School.

Drivers should expect detours in the area while crews work to remove the tree from the roadway. Eastbound traffic on Yorktown Blvd is being diverted onto 28th Street N., near the high school, according to scanner traffic.

Pedestrian traffic from the high school may also be re-routed.

Separately, further down Yorktown Blvd from the fallen tree, Arlington County firefighters were on the scene of a possible gas leak at Nottingham Elementary as of 1:30 p.m. The school was evacuated while firefighters investigated a reported gas odor.

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Morning Notes

Crows Are Swarming Rosslyn at Dusk — “As the sun begins to sink below the horizon, ghostly caws and flapping wings echo through the air. Then, they come in droves. Hundreds, if not thousands, of huge, black birds darken the sky, swooping through buildings and swarming like giant gnats. This Hitchcockian scene is a typical Tuesday in North Rosslyn.” [Washingtonian]

New Candidate for School BoardCristina Diaz-Torres has announced that she is running for Arlington School Board to replace Tannia Talento, who is not seeking a second term. Diaz-Torres is planning a campaign launch event on Columbia Pike this Sunday. [Twitter, Facebook]

Arlington Residents Are Up at All Hours — “The massive Nov. 8 water-main break underneath Chain Bridge Road taught Arlington public-works officials a number of lessons. Among them: Some county residents are up and at ’em in the wee hours of the morning. The county government received its first call complaining of no water at 2:59 a.m., a mere three minutes after the rupture of the 36-inch, 75-year-old pipe.” [InsideNova]

More on GMU Arlington Campus Expansion — “As George Mason University leaders celebrate the 40th anniversary of the school’s Arlington campus, they promise that its Amazon-inspired expansion will be ‘unlike any building ever built’ by a state institution.” [Washington Business Journal]

Upgrades for 911 Call Center — “The County’s 9-1-1 call processing system was upgraded today! Our staff are thrilled to have made the switch to this top of the line system that will allow us to best collaborate with neighboring jurisdictions and serve the community.” [Twitter]

NORAD Exercises Planned Tonight — “Don’t be frightened if you see and hear military aircraft speeding overhead… The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is expected to conduct air exercises over the Washington area from Thursday night into early Friday morning. Flights are scheduled between midnight and 5:30 a.m.” [WTOP]

Five Year Anniversary of Streetcar Cancellation — “Five years ago this week – Nov. 18, 2014 – County Board Chairman Jay Fisette stood somewhat grimly in front of a microphone and TV cameras to announce that Arlington officials were abandoning plans for a streetcar system in the Columbia Pike corridor.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Food Star to Open in Bailey’s Crossroads — “A Food Star grocery store is opening up in the former Toys R Us building at 5521 Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads – possibly by the end of the year.” [Annandale Blog]

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Construction is progressing at the new Lubber Run Community Center & Park (300 N. Park Drive), with crews currently working to widen the sidewalk in front of the property.

As a result, a lane closure will start next week along S. George Mason Drive. One lane along N. George Mason Drive between the Carlin Springs Road bridge and Park Drive will close starting Monday, November 11, per the project website.

The lane will reopen in mid-December, depending on construction progress. Barriers will be installed in the meantime to allow for safe pedestrian travel.

The approximately $48 million project will result in a new gymnasium, walking track, fitness center, and multi-purpose rooms, according to project manager Peter Lusk.

“It is still on-schedule for a late 2020 opening,” Lusk said.

The original community center was built in 1956. When the county closed the old building last year, they gave people a change to decorate its walls with art ahead of the demolition.

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(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) Another evening rush hour crash is causing significant backups, this time on N. George Mason Drive, south of Ballston.

A reported “head-on” crash on George Mason, near the intersection of 2nd Road N., has prompted police to close the northbound lanes of George Mason Drive at Route 50.

Two ambulances have been dispatched to the scene for reports of non-life-threatening injuries.

A witness said via Twitter that one of the vehicles “jumped the median and hit a car traveling northbound at 2nd Road N.”

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Arlington County Police are investigating two fatal pedestrian-involved crashes that happened last week.

The first occurred Wednesday morning at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive. The victim, a 77-year-old Arlington resident, died Thursday, police announced over the weekend.

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team (CAT) is investigating a now fatal pedestrian crash that occurred on Wednesday, June 12 at the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Four Mile Run Drive.

At approximately 9:27 a.m., police responded to the area for the report of an accident with injury involving a pedestrian. Officers and medics arrived on scene and located the female victim suffering from serious injuries and rendered aid. The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim was crossing the westbound lanes of Columbia Pike against the walk signal when she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and detectives interviewed multiple witnesses.

The pedestrian, identified as Martha Saltos, 77, of Arlington, Va. was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. She later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on June 13.

Anyone who may have witnessed this crash or has additional information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective S. Lafley at [email protected] or 703-228-4052. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

The second fatal crash happened Friday night, on N. George Mason Drive near Virginia Hospital Center. A 66-year-old Arlington man died from his injuries after being struck by a vehicle.

Also from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred in the 1700 block of N. George Mason Drive.

At approximately 10:51 p.m. on Friday, June 14, police responded to the report of a crash involving a pedestrian. The pedestrian, identified as Robert Bramwell, 66, of Washington D.C., was transported to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it is believed that the pedestrian entered the roadway outside the crosswalk and did not have the right-of-way at the time of the crash. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

This remains on ongoing investigation and anyone with additional information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective T. Parsons at [email protected] or 703-228-4172. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

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A new Carlin Springs Road bridge over George Mason Drive has been built and county crews are now preparing for some finishing touches.

Construction started in 2017 and most of the work was completed earlier this year. To the consternation of nearby residents, the paving and restriping work has yet to start — the county told residents it was waiting for the right weather conditions — but that’s about to change.

“Remaining work items include installing new street lights for the bridge and the George Mason Drive interchange and landscaping,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet tells ARLnow. “Crews are scheduled to be on site next week to install the street light conduits.”

“Final paving and marking of the roadway is anticipated to take place by early July, barring any complications and weather permitting,” Balliet continued. “At that time, the permanent traffic pattern will be established and all cones and barrels will be removed.”

Numerous residents have emailed ARLnow with complaints about the project not yet being completed, even though it appears to be on-time based on an Oct. 2017 presentation. One explained that the current traffic pattern has resulted in delays for drivers.

“It’s the left turn on Carlin heading towards Ballston onto George Mason,” a local resident said via email. “It’s causing illegal u-turns so drivers can access George Mason northbound.”

Balliet said the lane striping, when it’s complete, will provide a turn lane for drivers heading from Carlin Springs to George Mason.

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Workers are gearing up to make some repairs on the S. George Mason Drive bridge over Four Mile Run, so be on the lookout for some lane closures.

The county kicked off work on the bridge on Monday (Nov. 26), and it will likely last through spring 2019.

Workers will reduce from two lanes in each direction down to one as construction proceeds, but only during “non-rush hours,” according to a county NextDoor post.

The work will primarily focus on “patching and sealing,” mainly on “good weather days” through early next year.

Then, the county plans to repaint the bridge in summer 2019.

Photo via Google Maps

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An unusual crash left an SUV with its front end up in the air, hanging from a wire.

The crash happened Sunday morning at the intersection of George Mason Drive and Route 50, near the Unitarian church. No serious injuries were reported.

More from a reader who saw the aftermath:

The power is out on parts of Glebe Road and Route 50/Arlington Blvd, including Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds. An SUV hit the anchor cables of an electrical pole at the corner of George Mason Drive and Arlington Blvd, and snapped it in half, causing drivers to pause as they pass.

Photos courtesy Liz Vance and Eric Dobson

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An SUV driver lost control and crashed into an Arlington County Police car in snowy weather this morning, and the accident was caught on video.

The crash happened around 8:15 a.m.. The driver of the car that recorded the video says he was driving his daughter to elementary school and was stuck in traffic on N. George Mason Drive when his Tesla’s front-facing camera captured the crash.

The video shows the SUV rounding a curve at a rate of speed higher than the cars in front of it, then losing control, crossing the median and striking the side of the police vehicle in the opposite lanes.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the officer was investigating another crash at the time of the collision.

“While investigating a separate weather-related crash, a stationary police vehicle was struck by a vehicle unrelated to the initial investigation,” Savage told ARLnow.com “The driver of the striking vehicle was determined to be at fault but no charges were sought due to the weather conditions.”

So far today, according to Savage, Arlington County Police have responded to 26 calls for crashes and another 40 calls for various traffic complaints like flooded roadways, disabled vehicles and road hazards.

Courtesy video

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Morning Notes

Arlington Named Top Digital County Again — “Arlington County is the No. 1 digital county in the nation for a third straight year. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2018 award recognizes Arlington for its best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, planning, cyber security and operations.” [Arlington County]

Robbery in Courthouse — Two men reportedly robbed the Dunkin’ Donuts on Wilson Blvd in Courthouse yesterday evening. The men demanded money and fled the scene with cash but did not display any weapons during the robbery, according to initial reports. [Twitter]

Kaine to Campaign in Arlington Today — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight “will host a ‘Neighbor to Neighbor’ community conversation in Arlington to engage Northern Virginia voters on the critical issues facing our country and take their questions.” The event is taking place at the Barcroft Park Picnic Shelter (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) at 6:30 p.m.

Britney Spears Touches Down in Arlington — Britney Spears arrived at Reagan National Airport ahead of the kick off of her summer tour. Photos and video show her walking through the terminal with a small entourage. [Daily Mail]

Arlington to Pay to Help Retain Federal Tenant — “Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for nearly $8 million over 10 years to subsidize a lease that will retain the Office of Naval Research in the county. County Board members on July 14 are expected to approve an incentive package that will keep the federal agency in its current 314,000 square feet of office space in Ballston.” [InsideNova]

Suspect Hailed Cab After Pike Burglary — “A burglar made his getaway from a scene in Arlington by hailing a taxi, according to officials. The Arlington County Police Department said the burglar targeted a business in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike near the Westmont neighborhood at about 10:25 a.m. on Sunday.” [Fox 5 DC]

George Mason Drive Detour — A “small detour” will be in place this weekend on N. George Mason Drive “as crews above remove the old half still remaining from the soon-to-be-replaced Carlin Springs Road Bridge.” [Twitter]

White Ford Bronco Profiled — Prolific local 90s cover band White Ford Bronco is the subject of a newspaper profile that dubs it the “undisputed king of D.C. cover bands.” The profile recounts that “at a recent concert at the Clarendon Ballroom, guys in button-down shirts and Birkenstocks pumped their fists to the chorus of ‘Mr. Jones.'” [Washington Post]

Metrobus Delays This Morning — Metrobus passengers reported delays and missed routes this morning, which WMATA says was the result of “bus operators reporting late to work as part of a collective labor action by their union.” [Twitter, WTOP]

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Southbound N. George Mason Drive is closed at Lee Highway due to a crash between a car and an SUV.

Two lanes of eastbound Lee Highway is also closed at the accident scene.

One person was reported to be trapped in a vehicle after the crash, though they have since been extricated. No word yet on the extent of the injuries.

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